Article by Kelsey Hanson, DVM.
It’s warming up! This is the time of the year where we commonly see dogs that suffer from heat stroke. Remember, dogs don’t have the ability to sweat out excess body heat. They can regulate their temperature through panting, but sometimes panting isn’t enough to stop a dog from overheating.
Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature of a dog reaches 105 degrees, putting their organs at risk for damage. This is a medical EMERGENCY!
Risk Factors for Heat Stroke:
- Breed – breeds with short noses and flat faces (Shih Tzus, pugs, boxers, bulldogs, etc.) are more prone to overheating
- Active dogs – working dogs or hunting dogs can be pushed too hard, so be sure they get plenty of breaks and shade and keep them hydrated at all times.
What to do if your dog overheats:
- Move them to a cooler area, preferably indoors with air condition and place a fan in front of them.
- Place cool, wet cloths or towels on your dog’s neck, armpits, between hind legs, ears, and paw pads.
- Head to the vet! Be sure to call ahead to let them know you’re on your way!
How to Prevent Heat Stroke:
- Limit exercise and outdoor activities.
- Provide plenty of shade and water when your dog is outdoors
- Do not leave your dog in a parked car – not even in the shade, with the windows rolled down!
- Avoid taking walks during the hot parts of the day. Wait until the evening when the sun starts to set. This will also help avoid burning their paw pads on hot pavement.
- For working dogs, give your dog plenty of breaks and provide cool water.